Certificates of Analysis
The automated solution performs the following daily tasks:
Monitoring arriving emails
Categorizing input files by COA providers. There are more than twenty five data extractors for different providers
Extracting data and validating chemical parameters against Limits lookup table (Oracle)
Rejecting samples if not validated or loading them into Oracle based data warehouse
Each rejection is accompanied by automatically created and emailed exception report
Daily performance reports provide all statistics regarding the process
An automated system for extracting loosely structured data from the wide array of websites with complex navigation and dynamic querying. API based access to various internet sources using multiple protocols and formats (SOAP/HTTP, XML/JSON)
The regularly extracted data is consolidated with the existing information in the data warehouse
Quality Letters of Credit
Document Preparation Engine
Automated recognition, extraction, and upload of letters of credit, air way bills, ocean bills of lading and other input documents
Dynamic document creation engine. Complex document sets assembled and rendered on the fly from the templates library
Digital signing to instill trust in electronic documents while protecting data integrity
Bill Processing System for Chas. P. Young Co.
The SiMX CPY Bills Processing System (CPY-BPS) is a fully automated SaaS solution for processing bills before printing. The system processes thousands of raw PDF documents (bills) extracting data from them, reassembling the documents according to the client's business rules and sending them to the destination locations ready for printing.
The system processes 6-10 thousand documents per day serving 14 states. It involves a full spectrum of technologies including data extraction, PDF files API, FTP, databases, web GUI, packaging, reporting, emailing and more. The automation scripts contain about 2K lines of scripting code that takes advantage of the SiMX platform functional libraries. The system has extensive data validation and error handling subsystem, automatically produces and sends to the appropriate recipients a number of management reports and notifications, and equipped with the web-based monitoring and management user interfaces.
The systems has redundant fully operational mirror backup copy, thus providing nearly 100% uptime. It is in use since May 2010 and demonstrated outstanding convenience, efficiency and reliability.
Reporting Solution for a Major Insurance Company
One of the top three insurers in the US was seeking to optimize the data processing and reporting workflow and a reduction in the skill level necessary for self-sufficiency in reporting.
As part of the solution, the insurance company was provided with TARGET Reports with the following results:
a 10 to 200 increase in self-sufficient reporting specialists
a 12 person data processing group was reduced to 1.5 persons with a 3-5x increase in productivity (TARGET Reports was used in conjunction with the Data Processing Suite)
reporting training period reduced to 2 hours for basic and an 1 hour (over the phone) for advanced features. Before it was weeks and months respectively,
reduction from 1 week to 1 day in duration of one of the reporting cycles
reduction from 50% to 0% of time spent on formatting
report format standardization
Before TARGET Reports, the tools employed included such packages as MSFT Access and Excel, which required extensive knowledge. Consequently, there were about 10 insurance professionals who were capable of generating the necessary reports themselves, while the rest had to rely on the IT department. This workflow was slow and error-prone.
After the introduction of Report Manager, the insurance professionals were able to generate ad-hoc reports themselves increasing the number of people who were self-sufficient from 10 to 200. TARGET Reports was hailed as a flexible solution that unloaded the IT department, significantly accelerated the reporting process, and reduced the number of errors (and the time spent on verification).
The following is a quote made by the Sr. Manager:
“The developers of TARGET Reports found the right balance of phenomenal flexibility and extreme simplicity.”
An e-mail received by the Sr. Manager from a Claims Specialist in the same company read:
“Thank you so much for everything you've ever taught me!!! I was able to run the 5 reports below in lieu of the 70 that it would have taken me before TARGET Reports came out. I just wanted to share my joy!”
Sr. Manager (member of Sr. leadership team). Contact info available upon request.
The following notes were made during a discussion that took place with the Senior Manager:
Effect: People with very low computer skills can formulate & solve problems on a professional level.
- TARGET Reports
UI: Reporting with TARGET Reports is conceptually different: more intuitive and ideologically driven. We no longer have to spend time on data access, formatting, and other tasks that are not directly related to analysis of the data.
Training: When training a person who only knows the basics of the Windows OS:
Basic: 2 hours of training to become self-sufficient in report-generation.
Advanced: advanced features would require an additional 1 hour by phone.
Basic: rudimentary tasks in Excel would take an unpredictable amount of time to train (usually weeks).
Advanced: impossible to train (months at best)
Formatting: The time spent on formatting went from 50% to 0%.
Flexibility: Report formatting and report structure survive modifications to data structure. Before, the entire report would have to be reconstructed.
Speed: Extremely rapid delivery of reports. The entire duration of the cycle including statement of work, implementation, testing, and approval went from 1 week to 1 day.
Standardization: Before TARGET Reports, we had a plethora of formats due to everyone having the flexibility to create their own formatting. Now, through TARGET Reports, we have a small number of standard professional styles used throughout our department.
wide use of scale-based grouping
easy access to what would otherwise be hard-to-implement features. (Example: median and deviation)
effortless conversion of tables to graphs and back
can be used as a procedural component to generate detailed and summary database tables
Superior sorting of groups by their summary information
We had TopN before it was introduced by Oracle
combination of sophisticated, multi-level grouping and TopN. For example, given a transaction table, to find top 10 representatives in every area by the total amount of goods sold would take me no more than 2 minutes. No easy alternative.
effortless data access
built-in dynamic view formation
a lot more
Reliability: There are no calculation errors. Excel UI did not protect against careless mistakes.
Interesting Effect: Allows a user the luxury to be intellectually curious. When specialists can make adjustments in 5 minutes (rather than 2 hours it would ordinarily take or involving the IT), they are motivated to be curious. TARGET Reports allows one to look at data in a multitude of ways without expending effort thus, from a reporting tool, it turns into an analytical tool – this is radically different from conventional tools.
Reusable Resources: Access reports had no re-usable resources. All reports had to be constructed from scratch. Now we can modify existing reports significantly reducing the time required for setup.
- Data Processing: when working with typical data processing and reporting workflows, such consulting companies as Accenture spend:
1/3 of the time on statement of work
1/3 of the time on implementation
1/3 of the time on testing
1/3 of the time is spent on the statement of work because it defines the implementation and, once the implementation is begun, making changes to the statement of work becomes a costly and time consuming endeavor. Yet, as any professional will tell you, no matter how good the statement of work is initially, it is never quite what comes out in the end and modifications are always necessary. TARGET solutions (and TARGET Reports in particular) allow for a very loosely constructed statement of work with easy adjustment thereof.
- Reporting load: “my department averages 40 report requests a month (new reports, reports requiring higher skills, modifications, etc.) Before, most of these would be full time 1 month long projects. Now each takes several days at most.”
Bankruptcy Notice Automation Case Study
SiMX delivers a system to automatically process bankruptcy notices. This case study describes the automated processing of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy notices including official form 9A, form B9A, form 9I, form B9I, ohnb 2271, and RAB9I. Capital Management Services (CMS) is one of the top collection agencies in the United States and one of the largest employers in Buffalo, New York. The companies rapid growth and strong financial health in a difficult economy is the envy of any business but in June of 2009 success brought with it an interesting problem. The combination of a strong collections business and a weak economy meant that CMS was receiving hundreds of automatic bankruptcy stays from judicial regions in all 50 states every day. By law CMS was required to act on these bankruptcy notices and, at least temporarily, halt the collections process. In practical terms, to comply with the law, CMS had 5 full time employees and up to 70 supplemental employees from other departments involved in keying in bankruptcy forms. Steve Florczak, EVP of IT for CMS asked Kevin Gubala, his Sr. Director of Networking to look for a better solution. Kevin, recounted "I called six different vendors that offered these types of automation solutions. After seeing the bankruptcy forms, all six turned me down. SiMX was the only vendor that offered a credible solution." SiMX undertook a systematic analysis of the input data. The forms were exceptionally diverse and inconsistent in format. According to Lawrence R. Greenberg, SiMX's Director of Marketing and the lead on the CMS account, "We took on this job knowing that, while it would be difficult, a total solution to CMS's work flow automation problem was well within our realm of expertise. We knew that we could squeeze clean structured data out of the jumble of different forms used by the bankruptcy courts." The project was finished ahead of schedule and paid for itself after two weeks of operation.
The data processing workflow that SiMX created to automate bankruptcy processing for CMS begins with physical paper notices from the bankruptcy courts arriving at CMS's mail room. All of the pages are fed into a high speed scanner and converted to digital images. Next, SiMX runs a controlled automated OCR process using a third party OCR engine. The OCR process outputs searchable PDF documents. These PDF documents are fed as input to SiMX TextConverter. TextConverter has been trained and programed to recognize bankruptcy notices from all 50 states. TextConverter extracts the text from the PDF documents and produces structured data ready for upload to CMS's AS400 database and accounting system.
Since our maiden voyage together, SiMX has put together several other projects for CMS and we have become true partners in helping each other to succeed. In a meeting months later in Buffalo, Florczak said "We reached out to SiMX for an important business need, once we started working together, SiMX became a valued business partner for CMS." This week we launched fully automated workflow for processing bankruptcy dismissals and discharges. Each new project we build for CMS is exciting and it is gratifying to see our software and professional services help to propel the success of our business partner.
SiMX delivers technology that helps Glass Group to keep a fragile industry running smoothly
Let's start the story by looking at the glass industry through the window of its supply chain. Glass manufacturers supply huge sheets of flat glass to fabricators who cut the glass into smaller sheets and, in many cases, fit the panes into metal frames for their customers. The fabricator's customers are typically broken into three categories, local glass shops that fix windows and install mirrors, OEM manufacturers of products that contain glass (like coffee tables), and commercial glazers who earn their salt installing the shiny outer layer on the world's skyscrapers.
These glass fabricators are keen to handle their biggest customers with care. The largest customers for fabricators are typically big operations that have internal processes driven by their own estimation software. To serve their customers, fabricators accept orders in the format of the buyers system. Since the order comes in the buyer’s format, and not the format of the fabricator’s order management system, these orders need to be extracted from the source format, transformed into the internal format, and loaded into the fabricators system quickly and accurately. Large orders can be extremely complex with dimensions, quantities, coatings, and dozens of other attributes specified. With rising international competition and a worldwide slump in construction, the requirement for efficiency and direct cost reduction has never been greater.
Now you have a clear view of the industry that Glass Group serves. Glass Group created DirectLink to build a seamless bridge between flat glass fabricators and their customers. SiMX's TextConverter software allows Glass Group's DirectLink to receive orders from any system and convert the orders to the fabricator's native format. Ed Scott of Glass Group says “For us and for our customers, TextConverter has eliminated the cost of programming. Before we added TextConverter to DirectLink, we had to write code for each new purchase order format. Now, with TextConverter, adding new formats to DirectLink is easy.”
When Glass Group created DirectLink, they had a number of alternatives. Their traditional approach had been to program for each format and then scramble each time a format changed or a new format arrived on the scene. Glass Group could have taken another approach used by many, that is to provide an automated front-end but employ off-shore data entry people to key in purchase orders behind the scenes. Finally, there are a few other extraction transformation and loading (ETL) options besides SiMX TextConverter. These other ETL packages tend to be very expensive and fairly limited in their capabilities. Glass Group chose TextConverter because the software was able to recognize many of the input formats automatically without programming and the other formats could easily be accommodated with simple VB Script.
DirectLink gives its users a clear advantage by empowering them to serve their customers better than their competitors. SiMX TextConverter gave Glass Group a clear advantage by solving one of the toughest technological challenges behind the creation of DirectLink. People who use DirectLink rave about DirectLink. Bob Craig of United Plate Glass in Butler PA says "Your product has streamlined our order entry process in two ways..
1. It has made the customer files that are sent immediately available for download into our system without any lengthy order entry process.
2. Errors have been virtually eliminated because our customer sends all the information and your software converts it into our order entry system, thus saving more valuable time by eliminating the need to double check for entry errors.
Everything happens within seconds. I would recommend your product to anyone. Your staff is very professional and knowledgeable in what they do."
For Glass Group, SiMX was able to project customer service up two levels, to make Glass Group happy AND to make Glass Group’s customers happy. SiMX solved a key problem in the supply chain of the glass industry with TextConverter.
LCPtracker selects SiMX's TextConverter to offer users automatic upload of Certified Payroll Data.
If your company does business with a local municipality, state, or federal government agency, it is very likely that you and your subcontractors are required to validate all certified payroll reports for compliance. Because this is a requirement of both your government contract and the law, companies just don’t have the option to defer this work. To comply with the law, a company can employ an internal audit department to check and validate each payroll report, hire an outside consultant to do the same work at an inflated rate, or turn to an efficient service web software service provider like LCPtracker.
LCPtracker choose TextConverter to enhance the speed with which contractors can report certified payrolls via the web. LCPtracker gives their users an automatic way of uploading their existing certified payroll reports. This automatic self service feature allows a contractor to simply and safely upload hundreds of employee payroll records in minutes.
Here is how it works, first the user signs up for LCPtracker Direct Payroll Service. Next, a TextConverter map is created specifically for that contractor’s payroll format. Each time the contractor uploads their existing certified payroll report into LCPtracker the TextConverter map is used. The process is simple, safe, easy, and quick. The contractors love it because they can upload simple reports that they already have and LCPtracker will instantly check and verify that they are meeting the prevailing wage requirements for each project.
TextConverter is an automated extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) software tool for pulling data from computer generated documents, including certified payroll reports. TextConverter also provides all the necessary means for data transformation and loading into any conventional database for further processing. SiMX and LCPtracker are working together to accurately extract every bit of data in each certified payroll report for computer analysis. LCPtracker uses both TextConverter 2.2 and SiMX's Data Extraction tools to quickly and accurately adjust to each new user.
TextConverter can extract data automatically from many computer generated documents. For other documents, TextConverter can often accomplish a large portion of the data extraction and data dictionary creation automatically and the task can be completed using an internal VB Script editor. In the case of certified payroll reports, much of the extraction is automatic but mapping the automatically generated fields to LCPtracker’s output data model is a manual task. In TextConverter data mapping is accomplished through a visual interface that allows for both direct, one to one, mapping in the user interface (UI) and more complex transformational mapping, in VB Script.
The team at LCPtracker is stacked with experts on payroll compliance. They have designed a system that can accept and analyze any certified payroll report, for any type of work but since there are few industry standards around the payroll reporting process, the input reports have extensive variation. The mapping required to bring these non-standardized certified payroll reports from across so many industries into a single complete data warehouse is an ideal case for intelligent ETL. To illustrate this point, I will walk through each step of the process.
“Working with SiMX has added significant efficiency to our contractor users of LCPtracker direct payroll interface. SiMX technology has certainly enhanced the value proposition our clients receive.”
-Mark Douglas, CEO, LCPtracker
Extract, in this step, TextConverter must open any of a variety of document formats, including PDF, DOC, RTF, XLS, HTML, CSV, and various forms of text. It must extract the text from the source documents while leaving in place any patterns implicit in the data source. Patterns include records and fields, as well as pattern indicators like labels, lines, spaces, tags, and positions. The extracted certified payroll data is displayed in TextConverter's input data preview area and is linked to an input dictionary of fields generated automatically upon opening any input document.
Transform, in this step, a user decides which fields can be used exactly as they were extracted from the payroll report and which fields must be transformed. A transformation can involve just about anything you can imagine but the most typical transformations are concatenation, separation, and look-up. Concatenation is when the data from more than one field is combined into a single field. Sometimes, data is combined with one or more preset values and sometimes both field mergers and preset value insertions are required for a transformation. With separation, data that was initially extracted into a single field must be parsed and separated into multiple fields. When a look-up substitution is required, an input data value is tested against an array or an external data source and, based on the look-up, the value is transformed to the corresponding new value. The transformation step also includes mapping the extracted fields, shown in TextConverter's input dictionary to the desired output fields, shown in TextConverter's output dictionary.
Load the data into the database is quite simple thanks to a variety of drivers available in TextConverter. To load data into any standard database, including Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, DB2, Access, Excel, FoxPro, and more, the user simply opens TextConverter's the output data source dialog to connect to the database with OLEDB or ODBC, or to create a flat file.
With SiMX's release of version 2.2, TextConverter can now identify patterns in the input data source automatically. Since this upgrade, SiMX has regularly released updates to the artificial intelligence (AI) engine that drives the automatic pattern recognition. Each upgrade provides greater efficiency, time savings, and cost savings for LCPtracker when it comes to setting up new clients. The savings accelerate further when you consider that improvements to the AI engine are also combined with a level of experience, that is, each new certified payroll format increases the library of knowledge (and field mappings) for the process.
With the SiMX LCPtracker alliance in place, It is now easier for contractors to test their certified payroll reports for compliance. This is an important efficiency gain if your company does business with a municipal, state, or federal government agency because it will likely keep your business out of some very hot water.